Bees Knees Artistry
Art That Melts In Your Mind
   Artist's Statement      What's Encaustic?

Encaustic (which also goes by 'Hot Wax Painting') is a very ancient technique. 
Over 3000 years ago Greek shipbuilders began using beeswax to caulk the hulls of their ships. It worked great for keeping out the sea but not very appealing to the eye. They decided to add resins for hardness and color. A new medium was born and gravitated into everyday life with artists of the day doing great paintings, pottery and of course ships! There is a very vibrant textured quality to this art form that pulls you in with its depth-of-field. 

Centuries after the Greeks mastered the art form it made its way into Egyptian culture. The earliest and best-know examples of encaustic are the Fayum mummy portraits from Egypt. Many of the mummies of the day were buried with their actual portraits done in colored wax on their cases. And, because of the climate, once they were unearthed (in modern times) these works of art still look as vibrant and beautiful as the day they were placed into the tomb. 

Some of the items I use today to create the work includes: electric iron, hotplate, heating gun, blow torch, heated stylus and stove top. I paint on paper, cards and treated wood panels of varying sizes. As well, metal tools and special brushes are a definite must in my studio and the effects created are endless. Naturally you also have an endless palette of colors to mix into the wax, the same as any oil-based painter. 

For me, the process of using Encaustic is in itself part of my inspiration. I love the fragrance of melted beeswax, the process of 'sculpting' a painting, and the varied, unique, and often surprising results that can take place during creation.

Wax melts at 100 C (212 F). I mention this as when I first began using this technique I did several paintings for my children, who live in the British Virgin Islands, and their concern was that the work would melt hanging on their walls. I know it's hot in the Caribbean but not that hot! Naturally, any painting - regardless of medium - should be respected and not placed into direct sun as it will cause the colors to fade (like in an oil painting). Otherwise, it should last as long - or longer - than an Egyptian original!